Ace your job interview for System Analyst position

I have both good and bad news for you.

Good news is that you will compete with only a few other people for a job of a system analyst (sometimes you can actually be the only job candidate they interview). The bad news is that you can expect a complex interview, consisting of behavioral and technical questions, and short case studies.

Whether technical or behavioral questions prevail depends on the person who leads an interview with you. A CTO, or other senior IT expert, will ask mostly technical questions. Any other person (HR generalist, HR manager, CEO of the company, external recruiter etc.) will focus on behavioral questions (and easy technical questions), becasue they don’t have the capacity to assess the accuracy of your answers to technical questions.

In most cases you will actually have to pass two interview sessions (or more), one with an HR person, and another one with a technical expert. Questions in the interviews will differ.


Behavioral and screening questions (interview with an HR person)

  • Why system analyst?
  • What motivates you in this job?
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Describe a conflict you had with your colleague.
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service.
  • Describe a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it.
  • Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion (or decision) of your superior or supervisor, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle that?
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job?
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job (it was repetitive, you did not enjoy your duties, there was no work to do, etc). How did you overcome the crisis?
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
  • Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your professional career. How did making this decision affect you?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.

Technical questions (interview with an IT expert)

  • If we hire you, what will be the first thing you do in your job?
  • Considering the size of our company, and what we do here, what ERP solution would you suggest for us?
  • How often do you think the systems should be updated?
  • Tell me about your latest process engineering experience.
  • What firewall do you use, and tell us why you use it.
  • What is your experience with network engineering?  Do you prefer solutions from CISCO, Juniper, or other, and why do you prefer them.
  • How do you monitor the cost efficiency of IT systems?
  • Short case study: Some production processes have changed in the company the last month. The current ERP (name of the ERP) can not handle the changes. What steps would you take in this case?


Preparing the answers for the questions

As you can probably guess, the technical questions can vary a lot, and they will depend on the IT infrastructure in the company, the networking solutions they use, and the reason why they want to hire new system analyst. The job description, and some research you do about the company prior to the interview, should help you to foresee the technical questions.

Nevertheless, you need to understand your job to be able to answer the technical questions.

The situation differs with behavioral and screening questions. They are more-less the same in every interview, since employees experience the same situations in work, regardless of their role (conflict with a colleague, pressure, tight deadline, achieving a goal or failing to achieve one, etc.)

If you would like to learn how to answer the thirty most common screening and behavioral interview questions, check our Interview Success Package.

Alternatively you can check some interview tips, or our section for IT interview questions.